Friday, March 30, 2012

It's the Most BUSYful Time of the Year

So, we have been really busy. I hate that. It's so much more fun to relax and have stay-home days. The kids miss their dad, who is working a lot right now. We are working on a transition that will free him up a lot, but like most transitions, it's taking a little more time than we'd like...
We recently went to the Museum of Discovery. It's been closed for a while to remodel. It reopened and had a free family day a few weeks ago(It was actually St. Patrick's Day), so we jumped at the offer of free fun!
Here are a few pictures from that day.
The kids in front of the t-rex. Isaiah totally went under the "fence" and started shaking the daylights out of the poor thing. They may rethink "Free Family day" after the Smittles came to town!

This is a very green picture. Yes, Mia is shoeless. She stays that way most of the time as she's got REALLY long REALLY narrow feet and nothing will stay on her for very long.

Silly Addi. She kept going back to this and saying "I'm pulling your GUTS out!"

KK, the pirate. Ha!

KK, the strong girl. she pulled herself all the way to the top!!

Bubby LOVED this guitar display. It made funny noises and he kept doing it over and over.

After the MOD we headed over to the nature center. The kids liked it, but it didn't take long for them to get a little bored. Still, more free fun.

After we left there we headed over to Heifer Village. The kids love this place and got to pet animals, plant seeds, and go on a nature scavenger hunt.

This is bubby trying to carry water buckets like children in other countries often have to do. He said, "I do it. I do it, MOMMA!"

In other news, my cousin Heather recently had a sweet baby boy! Korbyn Mack. I think he likes me! 
Holding this tiny sweet baby did nothing for my crazed baby fever.
I know, it's nuts. DON'T send me hate mail!

This baby marks 15 GREAT grandchildren for my sweet sweet granny. I can't imagine.
She's the sweetest person I know.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MIA on the BLOG

I spelled BLOG in my head so that the title sounded cool. Ha!
I've been MIA in blog world because I've been on facebook more. Any time I'm posting on Facebook I end up not blogging. I want to fix that, because there's something much more homey about a blog, so I'll try to do better about posting.
Latest Smittle news story:
So, I posted a few weeks ago about Lulu asking what sex meant. I guess she's smarter than I thought and put two and two together. This past week we were at the zoo, and had seen several mating animals as love is indeed in the air with it being spring time. While we were gazing at the giraffes it was obvious to anyone(even Bubby) that the giraffe's were in need of some private time. Olivia let out a half laugh and in a very loud voice says, "Boy. Those giraffes are really sexing it up! I bet they have a baby soon!"  Uhhh, what? Every mother's eye was on me to see what I'd say. This time I didn't have a nice response. I wish I could say I did. Can I just ship her off for a while and let someone else figure out what to do with her???
In other news my mom and I went to see Sandi Patty & Friends last night. A great concert! I've decided I don't care if you think I'm lame. I really love that music! There were so many times last night when we'd just laugh from amazement of talent. I'm posting a video for anyone who cares. This isn't from the concert,  but is one of the songs they sang.

And another
This song always makes me cry. Ha!

One more. I'm SORRY! This is the music I listened to my entire childhood!

Needless to say, we had a great night!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Think I Need A Bigger Swing

This exact day only two years ago.

This morning. 

Oh the JOYS of mothering...

So thankful for the gifts we've been given in these precious babies!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Say WHAT!?

So, we are blessed with an extremely smart oldest child. All of our kids are bright, but from the time she was very young, sweet Lulu has been a smart little booger. Since learning to read a few years ago her world has opened up to the point that I feel like I should be reading the encyclopedia at night to keep up with her!
One of the things I love about Lulu is that she loves to read the Bible. In the mornings she uses a book light to read once she's awake while her sisters are still snoozing away. Just about any time she gets a free moment in her room she's reading the Word. It's so encouraging to see her relaxed up on her top bunk just reading away.
Last night she was reading while we were doing bath night and all of the sudden I heard the words I've been dreading since the day she took her first breath, "Mom. What Yeah, S-E-X. That's SEX, right? What is SEX?" I seriously almost peed my darn pants! Manly was just about passed out in the bathroom floor covered in conditioner. I said, "Well. Where did you see that word?" "In this verse." she says. She goes on to read it to me. "Leviticus 18:9 'Do not have sex with your sister. It does not matter whether she is your father's daughter or your mother's daughter. It does not matter whether she was born in the same home as you were or somewhere else.' So is SEX the same as adultery?" I looked to Manly who was at this point lying in the fetal position.
I don't think she's quite ready for the full REAL answer, so I told her that there were a lot of things that were reserved for a husband and wife only and that sex was one of those things. I said, "I'll tell you more about it when you are closer to getting married age, but for now I think that's about all you need to know."
SO, now we are bracing ourselves for the next step...YIKES!! Passport to Purity here I come!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Healthy Kids

Several months ago I came across a fun site that I've really been loving lately. Super Healthy Kids has fun healthy ideas for feeding your family. I highly recommend their site. And no, they aren't paying me to say that! I recently subscribed to their email tips and ideas. They are packed full of healthy recipes and fun ideas.
A few days back I got this "101 Healthy Shortcuts" email and finally got around to reading it today. They were so good that I decided to repost them. Now, you know that I don't have time to sit around reading useless stuff, so you know these have to be good!
I'm just going to copy and paste straight from the email, so none of these have been added to by me. Thanks Super Healthy Kids for taking the time to post them.

"Healthy eating doesn't have to mean "time consuming!" We've rounded up our 101 best healthy shortcuts to save you time and still eat right!
  1. Stock your pantry with healthy foods! That way you will always have some healthy, go-to foods in a crunch. (healthy grocery list printable here)
  2. Saute your vegetables. This is a fast way to cook food, without adding very much fat.
  3. Plan your meals. The number one reason for families not eating a healthy home cooked meal, is they don't know ahead of time what they are going to fix. Do it yourself with our meal plan printable, or let us do it for you.
  4. Shop with a list! That way you won't forget items, only to return to the store to finish making dinner.
  5. Add familiar favorite toppings to food to increase appeal to toddlers.
  6. Knowing what you will make for dinner the day before, will decrease stress and increase your free time!
  7. Shred or grate veggies and store in Tupperware to toss into different dishes throughout the week.
  8. Wash and cut up produce when you get home from the grocery store so it is ready to eat anytime.
  9. Plan snacks at the beginning of the week so you are more likely to give your kids something healthy and not just easy and fast.
  10. Keep your pantry stocked with staples to avoid last minute shopping trips.
  11. Prep dinner at breakfast. Thaw meat, cut vegetables, or assemble casseroles.
  12. Keep a list of snacks inside the pantry door for kids who are always asking what they can eat.
  13. Use the microwave to reheat leftovers, cook baked potatoes, or thaw meat. We also use the microwave for steamed veggies and bean dips.
  14. List foods that are freezer friendly, and always make double of those. Our list includes muffins, soups, stews, chopped vegetables, fruit, homemade juices, pie crusts, homemade pizzas, and cooked or uncooked casseroles.
  15. Broccoli slaw! This quick, pre-washed, pre-chopped bag of veggies is perfect for stir fry's or salads.
  16. Eat leftovers! Make extra of everything for intentional leftovers. Healthy eating doesn't get much quicker than that!
  17. Buy healthy food in bulk. You can truly save money and time by shopping the bulk bins for grains, beans, and nuts.
  18. Make ahead snack packs (trail mix). Pre-portion homemade snacks for quick eating and seal them yourself.
  19. Pre-fill water bottles to encourage easy drinking. I know many toddlers and babies (like my neighbor) who will pick up any water bottle and start drinking from it if it's filled up for her!
  20. Dry or freeze fresh herbs for cooking. Plant your own herb garden and preserve your harvest with drying or by filling an ice cube tray with water and herbs in each cube.
  21. Double cook- Add frozen veggies to pasta water in order to have them both ready at the same time.
  22. Store fruits and vegetables appropriately to extend their shelf life. Keep apples away from other fruits as it will speed up their ripening time. Keep your produce in a cool dry place, or in the vegetable crisper drawer in the fridge.
  23. Bookmark your favorite recipe sites for quick reference. In any browser, click "bookmark" in the tool bar, and then "bookmark this page". Start a folder just for recipes. (don't forget to bookmark our recipe page here)
  24. Use pinterest to bookmark recipes you will use during the week. Start a board for recipes to try, or your current meal plan. (Follow us on pinterest to remember where you saw a meal you wanted to fix!
  25. Print and store recipes in a planner or binder to take to the grocery store, or use while cooking. Keeping them all in one place save so much time! I love my recipe binder so I don't have to dig through all my cookbooks to remember where the recipe was I was planning. (Check out the recipe binder download here - free on sign-up)
  26. Always make extra marinara sauce and freeze in ice cube tray.
  27. While cooking or boiling chicken, add veggies and save the broth by freezing for soups later.
  28. Cook large quantities of beans and freeze them in 1 cup portions in a freezer safebag. (my bean cooking video here)
  29. Read through an entire recipe before you begin. This will minimize mistakes and save time!
  30. Keep a list of last minute recipes- your 10 minutes and under dinner list! (here is my 10 minute meals list)
  31. Invest in a pressure cooker. This appliance will cut your cooking time immensely. Perfect for meats and beans.
  32. Invest in a slow cooker- Although cooking time is longer, the general instructions are: dump and go!
  33. Purchase a rotisserie chicken while you are at the store. Shred it when you get home. Use some for dinner that night, some for lunch, and freeze the rest in portions for a quick meal.
  34. Meat departments often sell pre assembled meat and vegetable kabobs. These are delicious, fresh, and done for you.
  35. Stock, and I mean stock up on frozen vegetables! This has saved me so many trips to the grocery store. We always have a vegetable ready to be added to dinner, even if it's been a week since shopping day.
  36. Add frozen vegetable mixes to your freezer stash. These are perfect for stir fry's and casseroles.
  37. Shop the salad bar! The vegetables are washed and chopped for you!
  38. Buy garlic already minced in a jar. Perfect if you use this heart healthy herb in your cooking.
  39. Make and store homemade mixes such as pancake mix, muffin mix, and general baking mixes. You can write the recipe right on the air tight container, and never run out of these items that don't need to be purchased commercially.
  40. Make and store homemade spice mixes such as ranch seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, or taco seasoning.
  41. Look for pre-shredded cheese! I was surprised to find out that I can buy mozzarella cheese pre-shredded cheaper than I could buy it in a block. This is perfect, because I generally only use mozzarella shredded!
  42. Organize your kitchen! Don't waste time looking for things. Make sure they are always put away in a place that you will naturally use them.
  43. Keep your pantry and cupboards clean. How many times have you thought you were out of bread crumbs, only to find them buried in the back of your pantry? Keep it clean, and you will know what ingredients you have.
  44. Quick clean up tip: Spray your measuring cups and spoons with cooking spray- especially before measuring items that are sticky, like honey.
  45. Wash your blender by adding water and reblending. No need to scrub if you do this right away.
  46. Grate ginger and store it in the freezer. Ginger will last for several months if stored properly.
  47. Kitchen scissors are a great tool for quick cutting. Use scissors instead of a knife for chopping herbs, trimming dough, opening packages, cutting pasta, a pile of grapes, or even homemade pizza.
  48. A sharp knife is the essential cooking tool that will save you a load of time. Dull knives take twice as long, and use 10 times more muscle power to cut through vegetables and raw meats.
  49. Grate food like cheese, ginger, or zest into a bowl or bag. Grating onto the counter is messy, and generally you lose a portion of your ingredients that stick to the counter.
  50. Flexible cutting boards are great for chopping and dumping. Pick up the entire cutting board and funnel your veggies into a pot or funnel the scraps into the garbage.
  51. Double cook-Whenever you are boiling pasta, throw a bag of frozen vegetables in the pot. By the time your pasta is finished, your vegetables will be cooked as well.
  52. Need bread crumbs in a pinch. Toast a piece of bread, or keep some out to dry, and use your grater or food processor to make your own bread crumbs. Instant bread crumbs, no shopping required.
  53. Store whole wheat flour in the freezer. It will retain it's freshness and nutrients longer than stored in your pantry.
  54. Quick and healthy meals can be made with as few as 1-3 ingredients! The longer the recipe, the longer it will take. Look for short ones.
  55. Line slow cookers or roasting pans with freezer bags or foil for easier and faster clean up.
  56. Freeze celery! It's true. Before your celery starts to soften and go bad, wrap it in foil and store it in the freezer. Chop it and store for casseroles or creamy salads.
  57. Lasagna in a jiffy- You don't need to buy special lasagna noodles to avoid pre-cooking them. I've been using uncooked lasagna noodles in my convenient 20 years. They cook with your dish perfectly every time.
  58. Try vinegar or baking soda in the cooking water for hard boiled eggs. The peels will be removed a hundred times easier than cooking in water alone.
  59. No need to prepare fancy snacks for your kids. Nuts, veggies, and dried fruit are convenient as well as delicious! (dry your own fruit to save money and avoid the sugar!)
  60. When using your hands for cooking, like bread dough or pies, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid being stuck to your food.
  61. Add beans like chick peas to anything! Your kids can't tell they are there-and they are high in fiber and protein (Reader Christine)
  62. I sneak peas into everything and grind up spinach and tell them it's basil(Reader, Jennifer L)
  63. Boiling a bird? Add veggies, then strain the broth and store it in the freezer!
  64. Melon ballers are good for scooping out more than just melons. We use it often for scooping muffin dough into the muffin pan, or even scooping seeds out of a tomato.
  65. Make extra veggies today so you can use it in soup for tomorrow (via twitter @eatsmartrd)
  66. Nancy adds Benefiber and powdered protein to all muffin, quick breads, pancakes and sometimes cookies to keep the sugar / veggies more even. (reader, Nancy T)
  67. Reader submitted: My step daughter wont eat veggies. so i always make pasta sauce and grate a heap of veggies finely she doesn't notice they are even in there (reader, Nicole A)
  68. Make extra waffles and freeze them in a freezer safe bag. Seperate the waffles with wax paper. These are easy to cook by putting them in the toaster on busy mornings. No need to buy commercial freezer waffles!
  69. Marinade chicken in a vacuum bag. The marinade will infuse more quickly than soaking your meat in a dish.
  70. Double up on the pasta you are boiling for a meal. Reserve 1-4 cups of cooked pasta for a cold pasta salad the next day for lunch. Add veggies and Italian dressing for a delicious meal.
  71. Plant a garden! This may not be a shortcut at first, but when you just need one tomato, it's so much easier and healthier to get it from your own backyard, or hanging planter!
  72. Bananas going bad? Throw them in the freezer -peel and all. When you are ready for a breakfast smoothie, take out of freezer and then peel it.
  73. Quick sack lunches. Help your kids be independent by leaving the school lunch prep to them. From kindergarten and up, they are capable of making their own lunch and your mornings just got a little easier! Keep a list in the pantry of available foods for their lunches they can pick from to keep it healthy. (check out our list here, Plus more lunch packing here.)
  74. Replace applesauce for oil in any recipe (Reader, Jennifer C)
  75. Pour extra stock into a muffin tin and freeze. Once frozen, pop out and store in a freezer safe bag. (via Martha Stewart)
  76. Use an egg slicer to slice soft fruits and berries! Perfectly cut fruit in one touch. (Via Martha Stewart)
  77. Freeze ground meat portions in a snap. First, fill a freezer safe bag with your ground meat and seal. Second, using a chop stick, press indentions through the entire bag until you have a tic tac toe board. Lay flat and freeze. This way you can take one section out at a time, without having to defrost the entire brick. (Real Simple)
  78. Pre-assemble smoothie kits. Take 1 cup of fruit and add 1 cup of orange juice. Add anything else you like to add to smoothies including spinach, flax seeds, or even broccoli. Store in portions that will fit in your blender and freeze.
  79. I add chia seeds to everything - toast, cereal, fruit salad, dinner...(reader browning/li>
  80. You don't need fancy equipment if you like to add pureed veggies to different dishes. Just purchase baby food! Most vegetable baby food is pure- pureed veggies diluted with a little water. Keep these in your pantry to add to spaghetti sauces, casseroles, or dinner pies.
  81. Teach your kids to cook, starting with breakfast. My son was 5 when he started making scrambled eggs. He's been burned a few times, but I'm always close by (wink). Another thing they can do themselves is cook their own oatmeal- easy in a rice cooker!) It's more work to teach them, but in the long run, a real time saver!
  82. When purchasing broth, look for the cardboard containers with a re-sealing cap! Store it in the fridge. Add broth to meals, without using a whole can, or wasting broth.
  83. Re-purpose pineapple juice when you eat canned pineapple. Pour the juice into a freezer bag, muffin tin, popsicle molds, dump it on fruit salad to keep it from browning or pour into an ice cube tray and keep in the freezer for for smoothies or marinades.
  84. I add a whole food based protein type powder to LOTS Of stuff, I sneak veggies into everything and I cook lots of hamburger and shredded chicken and then freeze. (Reader Ann P)
  85. Once a week salad: Chop your greens and store in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Every night, scoop out a bowl full of greens, and top with different salad fixings.
  86. Arrange your shopping list by aisle and type of food. Categorize dairy together, meats together, grains, baking ingredients etc. This will speed up your shopping time so you won't have to double back for something you forgot.
  87. Boil eggs once a week and store in the fridge with a special marking. Hard boiled eggs are a perfect snack in a pinch for hungry kids.
  88. Take a cooking class, or watch cooking videos! Learning the basics of cooking is essential to feeding your family healthy, and you will often learn small tips and secrets to make cooking easier and faster. (we now have cooking videos on our meal plan site!)
  89. My 3 year old is boycotting veggies, but DEVOURS "green smoothies"! He LOVES them-and any other kind of smoothie for that matter. In the green ones, I pack LOTS (like handfuls) of spinach, add a frozen (or overripe) banana, sometimes apple, and water and/or oj. Orange ones obviously are carrots, and in the am he has a strawberry smoothie-frozen strawberries, banana, and almond milk-YUM (Reader Tina R)
  90. Begin a food storage. Stocking up on food is important during emergencies, unemployment and other crisis to keep your family fed, without having to go shopping. We keep buckets that seal or #10 cans of dried beans, wheat kernels, rolled oats, and pasta noodles. Websites such as can help you with recipes designed to use your food storage.
  91. If you are using a cast iron skillet (which you really should!!) keep it seasoned to avoid food sticking to the pan. cooking is faster because you don't have to scrape the pan continuously, and cleanup is much faster!
  92. Choose a good Rememberitamin. While it's ideal for your kids to get all their nutrients from food, sometimes it's not always possible. Choose a good multi-vitamin as a backup to ensure they are getting what they need. (a short list on what to look for in a vitamin)
  93. Wash and soak your rice in water until you are ready to cook it. That way it's prepped ahead for when you are ready to cook it, plus the rice is fluffier and tastes better!
  94. Memorize quick conversions for quick cooking, such as 3 teaspoons is the same as a tablespoon. Get our list here.
  95. Learn to sprout! This easy activity takes 10 seconds a day, and you can enjoy the sprouts anytime.
  96. Keep a chart with quick substitution ideas to avoid a shopping trip or a call to the neighbor.
  97. Add rice to your salt shaker to avoid clumping.
  98. If your fruit is starting to turn, puree it and pour into popsicle molds!
  99. Mashed Potatoes for dinner? Peel and chop before you clean up breakfast, and store in a bowl of water in the fridge during the day. At dinnertime, dump the entire contents of the boil into your pot to boil.
  100. Add a few drops of oil to boiling pasta water to keep the pasta from clumping together.
  101. Remember to smile in the kitchen and make food fun! Meals are easier and faster when everyone is happy!
Be sure to visit their site here and enjoy feeding your family!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dr. Seuss, Pop Tarts, and a 10-month-old

Mia can NOT be 10 months. Seriously? It was just yesterday when she was born, RIGHT? In less than 8 weeks my tiny baby girl will be 1 year old! BOO. Ehh, if you can't put them in a box and keep them babies you can at least take cute pictures of them! Ha!

You see that look in her eye? Yeah, she's a handful, but OH SO SWEET!
This is her "official" 10 month picture. She's such a MESS!
She's likely to be walking in a few weeks, but I've been saying that for a few MONTHS.
Love that sweet joyful smile.
This is the latest face she's making due to teething. Seriously?
Looks like she's been watching my Dad dip tobacco!
In other news, this past Friday I did a special thematic unit on Dr. Seuss since it was his birthday. We had a morning birthday party complete with none other than green eggs and ham.
I sat out our Dr. Seuss books on the floor leading to the kitchen.

Manly made me a Dr. Seuss hat to add to a cheapo B-day banner that I had in my party cabinet.

Lulu eating her Green eggs and ham.
I had a bio on Dr. Seuss that we read and talked about, while I let the kids color Cat and the Hat color sheets.
Addi has gotten REALLY serious about coloring lately.

We also played some fun "party" games: Cat, Cat, Hat(like duck, duck, goose), Who Lives in the Jungle of Nool?(an animal guessing called game), and a rhyme game where I had them make sentences with only rhyming words. I also had them talk about a time when they(even though they were small) helped someone else like Horton, who says, "A person is a person no matter how small." They drew pictures and Olivia wrote out a little essay. I should have loaded those onto the computer...Anyway, it wasn't a huge deal, it was just a little something to have a little Friday fun with.

So, I've mentioned before how much my kids love their Aunt Stephanie. Last night she came to stay with the kids while Manly and I went out. While we were gone Stephanie got all the kids together and made HOMEMADE POP TARTS with them. Seriously. The kids decorated them this morning with icing and sprinkles. Thanks Aunt Stephanie for helping the kids to make memories for a lifetime.
Lulu with her pop tart.

Addi after her first bite.

KK working on her Pop tart.

Bubby with his pop tart. He said, "This is Nummy!"

Mia was a little put off that she had to eat cereal and bananas. Sorry, baby girl! No icing for you!

Lastly, I love the first signs of spring. Here is my favorite.

This is a picture of our beautiful(yet stinky) Bradford Pear Tree. I wish I was a better photographer so I could really capture it's beauty! It's such a lovely tree.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Servanthood:Messy Work for God

This week we've been studying about India. As part of that we've been learning about Amy Carmichael. Today, I had Olivia reading aloud from one of our books while I was working with the little kids who were coloring around the table. As she read, we all listened. It's always so neat to me when Spirit speaks to me through my kids and today was no exception.
Olivia was reading about how Amy Carmichael gave up traveling around telling others about Jesus to open the Dohnavur Fellowship. She used this mission to take in "temple children"(children who had been sold to the Gods because their parents were unable to arrange a marriage for them) and any other orphans and women who needed a place to live. Olivia read the line, "...these little jewels were a lot of work, especially the babies. Feeding, burping, changing diapers, rocking, hushing...and then it had to be done all over again. Sometimes when Amy was rocking a crying baby, she remembered the thrill of traveling from village to village telling people about Jesus. Had she done the right thing to give up that important work just to take care of babies?"
That hit me right in the gut. There are so many days I think about the fact that all I do most days is take care of babies. It can get REALLY messy taking care of littles day in and day out. It's such a hard job and there are, I admit, days when I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Then I get the reminder it is my calling to serve my family. I remember what Amy also remembered, "...Jesus kneeled down and washed the feet of His disciples. It was dirty work, the work of a servant. Then Jesus told His disciples to follow His example."
Not only is it my job to serve my family, but I get to teach my kids how to live with a servant's heart as well. I want to set a good example for my kids. I want them to see that yes, it's hard work, but it's such a blessing to serve others. I can do ANYTHING for Jesus and it becomes a GOOD and HOLY job.  That means we can wash those clothes, clean those toilets, and sweep those floors to the glory of God. It brings such a JOYFUL spirit into the job as well. Do EVERYTHING as unto the Lord. If I'm making lunch like I'm making it for Jesus you better believe those sandwiches are going to be GOOD. If I'm teaching school like I'm teachin' Jesus, you better believe I'm going to stay calm and be prepared. The book goes on to say, "Servanthood is doing any kind of work to please Jesus." Wow.

"If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other's feet. I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you."-John 13:14-15

The quotes are taken from a book that I HIGHLY recommend called "Hero Tales" there are two volumes of true stories of heroes of the faith. Our family has loved all the stories and each section has a different character quality lesson.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed...

I love my kids. L-O-V-E LOVE them! They are so so sweet to each other and really genuinely love each other.
Recently we've been spending most of the day out in the BEAUTIFUL weather. We have an amazing backyard thanks mostly to grandparents who love their grandkids and have bought them lots of fun things to play on. Manly and I have a rule that we won't help the kids up onto stuff while they are playing outside. This rule came after we'd had several run-ins with "I'M STUUUUUCK!" and "I fell off the tree!" We want them to learn to do things on their own and we think if they can't climb up on their own it's unlikely they'll be able to get DOWN on their own. The bravery and confidence gained in climbing UP usually helps them to climb DOWN. Well, the kids decided they wanted to climb up on the roof of the playhouse. A few years back I would have NEVER let this happen, but in my old age I'm getting soft...I'll let the pictures and captions tell the REST of the story.

KK was the first one to make it up.

As you can tell she was a LITTLE excited! HA!

My favorite of all KK's koooky faces is this one of pure joy!

Not wanting to be outdone Addi decides she wants to try too.

KK trying to boost Addi.

She was saying, "REEEEEACH ADDI!!"

Addi decides to ask her dad for help only to be told that she'd have to figure it out on her own.
Look at those folded arms. This girl was REALLY trying to state her case.
They decided to try from another angle. I was really proud of them for not giving up! Such great sisters.

This whole time Olivia was sitting under a tree making an Indian Village out of sticks
Lulu with part of her Indian village.

Bubby and Mia watching from the trampoline.

Meanwhile, the girls were getting desperate...
Yes, that's a car and they know how to use it! Look at KK giving instructions!

KK decides to get up and coach Addi along.

She was telling her exactly what to do.

They were SURE this was going to work.

They got SO close...

But just couldn't do it!

Just when they thought all hope was lost...

The TRUE stubborn Middle child decides she WON'T give up!


And this is what happened afterward. They are both SCREAMING to the top of their lungs! Ha! They were so so so excited. They just sat up their looking around for the longest time.
Bubby decided they were having too much fun and he needed to join them. The girls laughed at his efforts and branded him, "The bad guy trying to get in our house!"

He just laughed and said, "I BAD GUY!"

But then...
He found something for his foot(the mailbox)

(he's looking right at me because in a panic I screamed, "SCOTTY, He's DOING IT!!!")

HE. DID. IT!!!

Seriously, ya'll! I NEVER thought he'd be able to get up there on his own.

This is Addi saying, "WHAT!? You are UP THERE! WAY TO GO BUBBY!!"

He got up on the middle and said, "I DO IT!"

Bubby was SO proud!

When he got ready to get down he just slid right off!

The sisters had decided to move on to other things. I found them on the "best friend" swing.

Bubby decided to swing with Lulu, who had sliced open her finger due to using a rock as a hammer on her art project.
But she was SO proud.

Mia was trying to learn to walk crawl because she WOULD NOT be held while the others were playing...

But she finally decided the car could be better used as a sitting device.

The Three Amigos finished their time together with a victory ride on the 3-seater seesaw.